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Wednesday News and Notes: Ross, Schwarber, the broadcast team returns, and more

Wednesday News and Notes: Ross, Schwarber, the broadcast team returns, and more
Photo by John Antonoff for Boys of Spring

News just sort of trickles in around this time of year.  We're a little over a month away from pitchers and catchers reporting.  Funny how the offseason flies by when you play into November.

Here is a few tidbits to tide us over for the day...

Cubs still a finalist for Ross, also considering a Wood return

The fact that the Cubs roster is set and they are essentially linked to one player makes the offseason seem even more tedious.  That player, of course, is starting pitcher Tyson Ross and he is being very methodical about making his decision.  Considering this decision could be the biggest of his professional career, who can blame him?  Ross has a lot of things to mull over.  He is still young and while this will be that second contract every MLBer strives for, it is not quite happening the way he envisioned two years ago when he was one of the young and upcoming talents in the game.  It's going to have to be that third contract where Ross makes his money, so he has to choose his team carefully.  It has to be a team that not only gives him a chance to succeed on the mound, but also one that will manage his rehabilitation properly.  This is it.  This is Ross's big shot to prepare himself for the biggest financial opportunity he will likely ever get in baseball.

This is what Ken Rosenthal talks about in his most recent article.  He reiterates Joel Sherman's information that the Cubs and Rangers appear to be the finalist.  He also backed up Sherman on the possibility of Travis Wood as a fallback for the Cubs.  Wood is a unique player and the Cubs may be thinking if they can't get Ross, then they may be better off bringing back Wood than one of the other starting pitchers on the market.  Better the devil you know...

But it's more than just familiarity.  Wood can fill any numbers of roles and that limits the risk,  In other words, there is a lot less downside to signing him than there are with some of the other remaining free agents.  If he doesn't make it as the 6th starter, he can always reprise his role as a lefty specialist/pinch-hitter/pinch-runner/left fielder/half-crazy guy that keeps the bullpen loose.

Schwarber wants to catch

According to Mark Gonzales of the Tribune, Kyle Schwarber still wants to catch.

"I'd like to see have the opportunity (to catch)," said Schwarber, who performed designated-hitter and pinch-hitting duties in the World Series. "If it comes, it comes. If it doesn't, it doesn't. But I'm going to fight."

That's what the Cubs love about Schwarber and while they've been pretty reticent about his chances to catch again after the knee injury, my guess is they aren't going to rule it out, much less tell Schwarber he won't be physically able to do something,.  The first rule about Kyle Schwarber is that you don't rule out Kyle Schwarber.

That being said, it seems to be something of a long shot, if for no other reason that Schwarber already has plenty on his plate just to get to where he was as an outfielder before the injury.  There will be no shortage of things to work on this spring.

One of those things might be a new role as the team's leadoff hitter,

"I'm open to it," said Schwarber, who possesses a lifetime on-base percentage of .353 and a .429 mark in the minors. "I know I hit there for two games. It's just another spot in the order. Once that first spot is done, you can hit eighth or third."

For his part, Schwarber doesn't think it will be all that hard to get back to where he was in the outfield.  If he shows that is true, then maybe that opens up some time to take some reps behind the plate.  If nothing else, it's not a bad idea to have an emergency catcher on the roster.

The Broadcast Team Returns!

Not that we ever doubted they would, but it's still good to know they're officially back.

The Kasper-Deshaies team is one of the best in baseball as well as one of the best tandems in Cubs history, in my opinion.  They're intelligent, witty, and do an excellent job of relating the more modern aspects of baseball analysis.

Cubs to visit the President?

For reasons that have nothing to do with politics, I'm glad they'll be able to do this before the transition.  President Obama is a well-noted southsider and Sox fan, so he'll probably give the Cubs a little ribbing.  But he is also a baseball fan from Chicago.  And even if he's not a Cubs fan, he can certainly appreciate what the Cubs World Series victory meant to the city.

UPDATE

Rays trade Smyly to Mariners

I was kind of hoping that the Cubs would acquire Drew Smyly, but judging by the return the Rays got, it would have taken an MLB ready CFer and there is no way the Cubs would -- or should -- trade Albert Almora.

The Rays received CFer Mallex Smith, LHP prospect Ryan Yarborough, and 17 yr old SS Carlos Vargas.  Those are solid prospects, but there are questions about Smith's bat long term.  Yarborough is a big lefty with a low 90s fastball, a good change, and a fringy breaking ball.  He's 25 so there isn't a lot of physical projection left but could be a durable innings eater at the back of a rotation.  Vargas is an intriguing 17 year old and while he is playing SS now, he is 6'3" with some room to fill out.  The guess here is he winds up at 3B.  The early returns indicate he has the power to carry the position offensively.

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  • fb_avatar

    I believe the Cubs should undoubtedly make a big public announcement that Schwarber will NEVER catch again. And I say this as someone who would like nothing more than to have Schwarber be the back-up catcher in 2017.

    No one will ever question Schwarber's work ethic. And if he is told "You will never catch again," I wouldn't be shocked if he was catching at least some games in 2018. Remember, this is the same guy who had a "8-month recovery time" trimmed down to 6.5 months through sheer effort.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Very true, If they do want him to catch, maybe the strategy is to say he won't be able to do it ")

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Hey John, I'm ready for the ST clock if it's not too much trouble.

    Kinda scratches the itch.

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    White House confirms the visit.http://chicago.suntimes.com/sports/cubs-to-visit-white-house-on-monday/

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    I did update with the Mooney tweet that confirmed.

  • I get the sense Schwarber bites off as much as he can chew. He knows his body but he has a toughness to him as well. I think he has 20 games in him at catcher - most likely later in the year when it is warmer out.

    As far as the plate, he is an advanced hitter so far. But he still has had only 1/2 a year + a world series of plate appearances . He has further adjustments to make. Whereas he has been on our radar now for a few years, we get to watch him grow with more plate appearances this year. It is exciting.

  • In reply to Gator:

    I am right there with you Gator. The two things I am looking forward to this year during the regular season are watching Schwarber and Almora play a full season and grow (health permitting). Almora's defense is a given. If both he and Schwarber figure out big league pitching, NL pitchers are in for a nightmare when facing the Cubs lineup this season.

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    In reply to cubbybear7753:

    What really makes the Cubs a nightmare for opposing teams is that even when they "rest" a star they are still a formidable line-up.

  • In reply to cubbybear7753:

    I understand that there are questions about Almora's bat, but he did hit .277 (in a small sample size). There may be some regression (as there was with most of the Cubs youngsters), but I don't think he'll be the offensive liability some are making him out to be.

  • In reply to Lildude:

    He has great ability to make contact as many have posted here before. The key for him was something I heard Jed say about him a few years ago in that he needs a plan. With an improved approach, he could pick his pitch. He is such an astute player that it should come with experience.

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    In reply to Gator:

    What has me excited is that Schwarber is that his K% and BB% BOTH improve in the post-season. And then when we consider that he faced in the post-season: Gerrit Cole, The Cards rotation, the Met's rotation (healthy) and 2 of his 4 WS games he faced Corey Kluber. Presumably these would be a very tough test for him. Also, the stakes obviously go up in the post-season so it is likely that there are even more resources poured into finding and exploiting his weaknesses. SSS certainly applies but with 50 PAs it is less relevant than if we had just 10-15 PAs.

    In short, there is better reason to believe he will get A LOT better with "exposure" to the league than there is reason to believe he will "struggle" when the league figures him out.

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    In reply to Joel Mayer:

    When the Cubs drafted Schwarber, I was disappointed until I seen what he did in the college playoffs. Add on top of that what he has done the last 2 seasons in the post season and you have a playoffs monster who shows up and kicks ass on the biggest stage.

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    Yes, Obama is a big Chicago baseball fan, After all those games he attended at Comenski Field, he is perfect representative of baseball on the southside of Chicago.

  • In reply to Curley Q Link:

    I've heard speculation there will be another trip to the White House after the new administration settles in.

  • fb_avatar

    Would really like to see Wood re-sign.

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    In reply to Ray:

    I agree! He has been here for years, is still a solid (I know not great) performer and he's a great club house guy. Plus, he is super versatile which is a good thing.

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    In reply to Ray:

    I am curious what it will take to sign him. Would 4/$40-50M do the trick or would it take more. Or would he be a 3/$24-32M possibly even work?

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Wow. `I don't think it will be anything close to that money. I've seen talk of a 1 year deal at $7.5 mil so maybe 2/$14 mil?

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    In reply to TC154:

    I think that may be his value to the Cubs but we are going to potentially be competing with teams that have a clearer path to a spot in the starting rotation. And a veteran with some proven ability will possibly get more interest and his price will go up. If he would sign for what you are proposing--which is obviously possible--I would LOVE to bring him back. As a "swing-man" if nothing else. I wouldn't start him against the Cards or Giants. But I bet he could put up some decent innings against the Reds or Phillies.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I like Wood, but everything I've read is that interested teams want to sign him to a 1 year deal for under $8 mil. That's why something like 2/$14 might make sense. Keeping in mind that Andrew Cashner got $10 mil on a 1 year deal and I would think Cashner is a lot more valuable and has a higher upside than Wood, particular as a starter. Either way I think he would be a nice get, particularly if they can't sign Ross.

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    In reply to TC154:

    If we could get him for 2/$14M or even 3/$20M I would seriously consider it. It also takes care of the "we need another guy that throws LH in the bullpen" discussion. And this contract would expire before we needed to really go all out to sign Bryant, Russell, Baez, etc.

    I actually haven't seen much about him and his market.

  • 1) not a fan of len, too many bad puns.
    2) I'd say just leave schwarber as 3rd catcher forever. how many times is the backup catcher not pinch hit for because of the old "what if our C gets injured" reason.

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    In reply to cantstandja:

    1) I have always liked Len. But he could have simply shone through as, "Anytime he said something I didn't have to listen to Bob Brenley make me dumber."

    2) Maddon seems to like having 3 catchers on the roster. And maybe Schwarber becomes that. I think he will be little more than that in 2017. However, if they deem him "ready" in 2018 I wouldn't mind seeing him as the #2 guy in 2018 and beyond.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    That kinda reminds me of the radio side. I HATED listening to Judd in general. But him and Keith Moreland, there times when I was happy I had at bat b/c I would turn on some of the opposing announcers. (with in reason of course)

  • In reply to HJW49:

    I thought Judd actually got better as that season wore on. The guy that I found completely brutal when he came in last year, was Mark Grote. Grote really couldn't carry an inning and keep on the subject pertaining to the game or the players.

  • fb_avatar

    Smyly to Seattle.

  • In reply to Ray:

    Jerry Dipoto has been busy. The AL West is going to be fun to watch.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to TC154:

    Agreed.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Ray:

    Now we know why they traded Taijuan Walker. I knew they had a corresponding move ( either another trade or FA signing coming) but then weeks went by and nothing so I really was confused.

    I don't see one top prospect going back in that deal, but I have learned never to underestimate the Rays scouts so they must see something in Mallex Smith and Carlos Vargas.

    Regardless I like the trade for the M's and if they can stay healthy, the NL west may be the toughest division in baseball. ( sorry AL East)

  • I would love to see the Cubs bring Travis Wood back,... whatever role he might have on the team,... there's room on most MLB rosters (including the Cubs IMO) for a guy who can do what he can do, and who fits so well into a positive clubhouse group personality.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    But do you want him back at a starters salary because from what I've heard that is what he wants.

    I'm guessing the Cubs will roll with one of the 1/2 dozen LHRP they will have in camp, some with options and league minimum salaries.

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    In reply to drkazmd65:

    A guy who can start, relieve, be a LOOGuY, pinch-hit in a pinch, possibly play an adequate LF, cover pinch-running if the bench is running short... Yes, there is a place for that kind of versatility. The main questions becomes do we have 25 other guys who are even more valuable to the team and will he sign for something like his value to the Cubs.

    I am concerned that there will be a team willing to sign him for 3/$35M and a clear path to starting every 5th day. I hope not, but I couldn't really feel "betrayed" by him to take them up on the offer.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    If somebody offers Travis Wood >$10 MM/year for a few years and gives him a shot at being a starter again - he's a fool to not take that kind of offer,... and Travis doesn't appear to be a fool.

    I think we would all wish him well, shake his hand, and send him off in that event. If they can get him signed for $7-8 MM for 2017, then I hope they make it work,... but I think at age 29, if he does really want to take another stab at being a regular starter, he's got to aim for a couple of years contract rather than going year-to-year and hoping that next year he can do better.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to drkazmd65:

    Agreed on all counts.

  • I would go 8/24 for Wood, but not more than that.

    I believe he will get more than that, but if not, I hope the Cubs sign him. And if they do, I hope they use him more often as a pinch hitter.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    I'm assuming you meant 3/24?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Quedub:

    I hope that is what he meant. Thought the AAV on a 8/$24M contract would be palatable. Especially if it were front-loaded.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    As I understand AAV it would not matter when the money was paid. It is just the average. Total value divided by number of years. In this example of 8/24M it would be 3M per year.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John57:

    You are correct. I was trying to be funny but it kind of came off as flat. There's not much point in "front-loading" a contract that has a $3M AAV. To me all that means is that "if evenly divided the value will be $3M/season. But technically, they could pay him $9M each year for the first 2 and then $1M in the remaining seasons. Which is the kind of scenario I meant by front-loading.

    But then...but then...A man once told me, "If you have to go into an in depth explanation of a joke it wasn't funny." Sorry.

  • Had no clue Len & JD's contract's expired. Agree with John 100%. I have a habit of checking out the road calls. To say Len & JD are among the elite is an understatement. Possibly the best. Harry and Stone at their height of their powers are a tough act to follow. That said in their own way???? Could well be the best. It's never an uncomfortable listen. Homers that keep a hint of neutrality to it. Not easy to do.

    Adding to that whoever made the decision to bring JD in is a true professional. Nice enough fellow but dry bland toast in Houston. That booth was a snooze fest. For the life of me I didn't get it. Then around AS break in '13 he began to find something that evolved to put it mildly. The guy cracks me up. What a difference the right partner can make.

  • In reply to Cubmitted:

    Interesting! I still find JD a snooze and he seems to be putting Len to sleep half the time.

  • fb_avatar

    I believe that JD is getting better. He might feel more comfortable now and I think that he can criticize the player's moves or batting or not hitting to the right field, etc. Len is one of the best in the business. Good for the Cubs to extend them and the more comfortable they feel with each other the better they get.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I think JD is a great compliment to Len. You're right Jonathan, he's getting better. I think that combo is one of the best in the business. I do like Pat and Ron, but when the opening came open for Pat's new partner after Ron Santo passed, I really wanted Dave Otto. The handful of games Dave and Pat did together, I found myself laughing out loud, and alot of it was very intelligent banter. Those two made a great duo in the booth. I was really surprised when Dave didn't get the gig.

  • As a subscriber to Extra Innings I get every Cub game, about half are the other team announcers. Most of them are really brutal. Len and JD are head and shoulders above them. Glad to have them back.

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    In reply to veteran:

    I subscribe to mlb.tv and sometimes watch non-Cubs games. And I am frequently stunned at just how BAD many broadcast teams are. They frequently disparage the other team. They are clear "homers" who have nothing but good to say about "their" team.

    Side note: it must be a Missouri thing because I watched a Royals broadcast last year and they kept mentioning just how "classy" their team was compared to everyone else. No other team in baseball could possibly match how "classy" they were. I mean, the league should hire the Royals organization to teach other teams about being "classy." It was nauseating.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Some of them are really bad. That Kansas City broadcast is one of the worst. Steve Physioc and Rex Hudler are brutal. Frankly the White Sox booth is pretty good for home games with Jason Benetti and Steve Stone but on the road with Harrelson? No one wants that. The only broadcast team that really stands out for me, other than our guys, is the Giants broadcast with Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to TC154:

    I have always been a fan of Steve Stone (I heard him broadcast many Cubs games in the mid-late 80's as a kid) and I really grew to appreciate him when subjected to Joe Carter ("World Series Hero" (TM)).

    I should try to catch some Giants games as I have heard several people comment on Krukow and Kuiper.

  • It is really comforting to hear Schwarber say he will be fine and his leg is strong and sturdy now. I am looking forward to see him leading off and playing LF. I can wait until the next year for him to try catching in a game again.

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    So if Schwarber plays LF and Javy is at 2nd will Zo get enough ABs during the season. I don't think we can discount his savvy and ability and experience. We need him in there, and I hope he gets enough playing time next year.
    So if it's crunch time and there isn't a DH, where is Zobrist? I assume Javy is at 2nd (maybe I shouldn't assume that) but we want Schwarbs in there too. Addy will be at short and KB at 3rd. The only variant is if Albert has trouble in CF then Zo could play RF and JHey in CF.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I'll try to put together a matrix for this tomorrow (I did it a couple years ago and it worked so I don't see why it wouldn't work again). But it starts out by making an assumption: Maybe only 1-2 guys (Bryant and Rizzo?) get 550 PAs. If we suddenly decrease the PAs given out to players to be in the 400 range or so suddenly there show some real possibilities. The critical thing is that Schwarber can play LF and RF (He played RF in the playoffs in 2015) as well as possibly C. Similarly Bryant can play all over the field. Baez can float around the infield. Zobrist can move around. Jay and Almora and Heyward can all three play all three OF positions. Really, of the likely guys to make the roster on offense the only 2 that are stuck to just 1 position are Montero and Rizzo. Because guys can move around the diamond from day to day it is more possible with this Cubs team than with most teams. In some ways that is another up-shot of trading Soler. He was relatively limited in his defensive flexibility (he played LF somewhat less ineptly than he played RF I believe but that is hardly a ringing endorsement).

    Then there is the likelihood that there will be injuries to work around. It wouldn't shock me if we lose a couple guys at various times for 2-6 weeks. We might even have a repeat of last year and lose someone for a significant period of time. Suddenly, those PAs are available.

    Finally, having this many good players means that Maddon will be able to rest guys. He has said that is one of his major goals this year. So, again, maybe we see a bunch of guys getting 400-500 PAs rather than a starting 8 getting 600+ and then all the bench guys scrounging for 150-200. This can also allow Maddon to help guys along by putting them in situations to succeed.

    The fact is that there will be stretches where Baez will lose his stroke on offense and it will be more valuable to have Zobrist's bat in the order, despite the significant drop off on defense. And, conversely, there will be stretches where Russell is tearing the cover off the ball. Then a week or two later he needs a rest has he has gone 2-26 or something like that. I can even imagine Bryant and Rizzo maybe getting a little more time off in 2017.

    In short, there can be enough PAs to go around IF we aren't too stuck on having a "steady line-up" with predictable defensive positions day in and day out.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Bryant had 675 PA's last season. Rizzo had 650. No way you are going to reduce their PA's by 100+ as that would be the equivalent of 25 games they would sit out.

    Those guys are going to play 155 games barring injury and that equates to 650-675 PA's.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    First off, I didn't mean to set a ceiling at 550 PAs but mentioned that they may be the only two with that many. But that starts becoming semantics.

    Maddon has said he really wants to get his players more rest this year. He didn't say, "Except for Rizzo and Bryant. We can't have them out of the line-up for more than 5-10 games without the whole season going to pot." But that's argumentative.

    In truth, why can't they go down to 550-600? Will it cost them some Home Runs? Probably. But remember, a rested player can perform better when they are in the line-up. Further, small injuries can take their toll. Sitting Bryant on a Sunday with a Monday off can allow some healing of a minor bruise that is affecting him ever so little, but still affecting his play. Maybe Rizzo needs time to heal after being HBP. The time off will also keep them mentally sharp. Many players have commented that a day off is more of a "mental" day off than "resting their bodies." These guys are constantly having to focus and giving them a break can help them come back mentally and psychologically refreshed.

    I don't look forward to seeing them out of the line-up. But that is because for most teams the drop off to their "2nd string" is pretty steep. Would you feel that badly if by giving Bryant a day off you could move Zobrist (2B) and Schwarber (LF) to feast on a pitcher who is exceedingly tough on RHB while also maybe giving Candelario a chance to get a couple of ABs (we don't know what the roster will look like).

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I'd say that you have a pretty good read on the plan if everything stays on script. What no one can know is the player or two who struggles at the plate as Heyward did in 2016. Also, guys who 'come of age' and break out so that Joe finds it difficult to not write those guys name in the lineup. Javy, Addison, Contreras, and Almora could all fall into that category, especially with their plus plus defence up the middle. Good post, Joel.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to 44slug:

    Thank you. And I freely admit there are HUGE unknowns going into the season. I don't think anyone expected that Schwarber would have more PAs against Corey Kluber in CLE during the WS than he did in the regular season. Weird stuff can happen throughout the year.

    My point, and it sounds like you got it, is that we might be seeing more line-ups with guys in different positions and we may not have 6-8 guys with 600+ PAs and then no one else with more than 300 or something like that. I think that Maddon will work hard to keep guys rested. He seems to have been validated in going to a 6-man rotation as Lester and Arrieta were very good in the post season. It also could have been "luck of the draw" I suppose, but I think they were rested and not as gassed at the end of the year.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I don't think you have to worry about that, Jonathan, especially with a manager like Maddon at the helm.

    The Cubs just came off of a season in which they played more games than 28 other teams (and very stressful games at that). Zobrist has had back-to-back seasons winning a world championship and will 36 in May. Schwarber, while healthy now, will start the season just a year away from major knee surgery. And the Cubs plan on playing deep into October (and possibly early November) again this season.

    There are several reasons to rest guys this year. Having to find playing time for all of these guys isn't a problem. It's an asset.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Quedub:

    I know that this is one of those "problems" that the Cubs have that most teams don't. Maybe I have to rid myself of the traditional thinking of having a set lineup like teams have done for so long. This is a new era and has a manager uniquely suited to handle it.
    The Cubs have played a lot of games in the last 2 years and hopefully will do so in the years to come so it benefits them to rest players--even the young ones. Games and seasons add up. I look to the Blackhawks and actually, as much as I wanted them to win the SC last year, I think the rest actually helped them. So thanks Joel and Quedub for reminding me of the grind of the season and post season.

  • Will there be a addition to the team announced before the convention? it seems like it has happened before. Ross maybe?

  • Am I the only one who doesn't think Len and JD make a good team? They usually sound bored to me. Agree, however, that they do a good job of using advanced statistics. I much prefer the radio broadcast and wish it were also the TV broadcast. Interestingly, I find that Len seems to have more verve when he does the radio broadcast. Maybe the message is massaged by the medium.

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    In reply to McGetts:

    I think broadcasting on the radio is a very different thing. There is no "picture" to fall back on. So it forces the broadcaster to fill that space with descriptions. And not everyone that can do TV can do radio and vice-versa. Kind of like asking a good piano player to play organ or vice-versa. To an outsider they seem like "small changes on the same activity." To many professionals it is one of their greatest frustrations ("Just because I can play this doesn't mean I can play that!").

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Agree with all that. Having listened to multiple radio broadcasts synched up with the TV during the playoffs, however, I do not find that Pat Hughes' radio style impedes the enjoyment of the game. Caveat: the visual information that the TV broadcast silently presents (pitch location, etc., random stats, etc.) is definitely a good supplement to the radio broadcast.

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    In reply to McGetts:

    Agreed without hesitation. I am not saying that there aren't people that can excel at both crafts. And "listening" to a TV broadcast, done well, can still allow me to "follow" the game. And, similarly, a good radio broadcast doesn't necessarily "clutter up" TV viewing with unnecessary noise.

  • In reply to McGetts:

    There are three rabid Cubs fans in our house and we think Len and JD are great. We caught close to 90% of the games (lots in delay)

    We were extremely disappointed when we had to hear the national broadcasters. No comparison. We have not heard the radio broadcasters.

  • In reply to granvil:

    Yeah those national broadcasters were WEAK! Who's more boring - Joe Buck or Bob Costas? But I digress. I didn't listen to them, of course, I listened to Pat and Ron on the radio.

  • In reply to McGetts:

    I'm going to have to defend Costas. He's a little rusty when it comes to calling baseball games as he does it so infrequently anymore, but that guy is one of the best in the business. Buck doesn't bother me quite the way he does some but he isn't my favorite. I will, however, strongly defend his WS broadcast partner in John Smoltz. I thought he was great and got better as the series went on.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Agree re smoltz!

  • The Schwarber air guitar pic never gets old. If I had to rank the Cubs system for top picture prospects, Kyle Hendricks stone faced yearbook picture is number 1 and Schwarber air guitar is number 2

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    In reply to kb60187:

    My favorite things about the Hendricks picture are:
    1. It kind of became an inside joke for Cubs Den as I think it was used for the preview (or was it recap) for all of his starts)

    2. The fact that the W flag is wrinkled. It looks like someone said, "That's a boring wall behind him. Can we cover it up with something? A 'W flag' we found in the bottom of a trunk? Perfect. No, don't bother ironing it. No one will ever see this picture."

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